How to write the Agree or Disagree Essay for IELTS Task 2

I previously wrote about sticking to the same formula of a 4 paragraph structure. Once you practice this approach, it will be very easy to plan and organize your essay when you’ve only got 40 minutes.

For the agree/disagree essay, I think it’s probably easiest to just completely agree or completely disagree because you just need to have 2 reasons to support why.

Remember, the examiner is marking you on how you express, organize and support your ideas. They aren’t judging you on your opinion. As long as it’s logical and cohesive (your argument is supported and your ideas stick together) and written clearly, you will get a higher mark.

You can follow this 4-paragraph structure:

  1. Introduction- introduce topic and give your clear answer to the task question (I fully agree or disagree with the claim)
  2. Main Reason #1 why you agree or disagree - give examples and supporting details
  3. Main Reason #2 why you agree or disagree - give examples and supporting details
  4. Conclusion - restate your opinion (this is a very short paragraph – probably 1 to 2 sentences)

Here’s an example:

Many children these days have an unhealthy lifestyle. Both schools and parents are equally responsible for solving this problem.

To what extent do you agree or disagree with this statement?

My outline of ideas for my essay (not fully written out):

1. Introduction – Write a sentence about the topic, paraphrase the claim and give my opinion – I completely disagree. I think only parents are fully responsible for solving this problem.

2. Main Reason #1 

I believe parents are fully responsible for solving this problem.

  • main caregiver and spend the most time with their kids
  • should be the primary role model of living a healthy lifestyle
  • most effective because parents provide child’s food/meals and guidelines for child’s free time and activities

3. Main Reason #2

Schools should not be responsible for solving this problem.

  • Schools should focus on academics – reading/writing/maths and science
  • Teachers have a relatively small amount of time with each child – they have to worry about a classroom full of 30+ children
  • least effective because they don’t provide for the child’s regular diet

4. Conclusion – restate my opinion that I completely disagree and believe that only parents, rather than parents and schools equally, are responsible for changing children’s unhealthy lifestyles.

See  my full sample essay for this question here.

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Posted in IELTS Writing, Writing Task 2 Tagged with: ,
21 comments on “How to write the Agree or Disagree Essay for IELTS Task 2
  1. A* says:

    Hi Pearl,
    Thanks for your post.

    I just wanted to ask about “To what extent do you agree or disgree” questions:
    Do I need to write in this instance a discussion essay or is it enough to present write an argument essay? For I read different opinions on this, also regarding the question type with “Evaluate/Assess…” , stating that I might need to write a discussion essay.
    As you can imagine, I am a bit confused.

    I will appreciate any advice.

    Kind regards,

    • Pearl says:

      Hi A*,

      Thanks for your comment. Here’s the difference between a “discussion” essay and an “argument” essay. In a discussion essay, you are presenting both views on an issue given in the task and providing support for both sides. You DO NOT include your personal opinion. In an argument essay, you are giving your personal opinion (viewpoint you agree with) and your supporting reasons. For the “To what extent do you agree or disagree” question, you are presenting your opinion (agree or disagree) and your supporting reasons.

      As for “evaluate/assess” questions, you would answer that like a “discuss and give your opinion” essay. Discuss both sides of the issue then give your opinion based on those discussion.

      It can be confusing, you’re right! Just read the directions carefully in the task question – there’s sometimes an extra sentence instructing you on what to include in your answer . Hope that helps. Let me know if you have any other questions. Good luck.
      Cheers,
      Pearl

      • A* says:

        Dear Pearl,

        I am very grateful for your swift response.
        It was indeed very helpful!

        In addition, I also looked at the British Council’s website and they stated too that I do not have to consider both sides in “To what extent do you agree or disagree” questions.

        Nevertheless, I will recommend your site to everyone I know of considering to take the IELTS Exam.

        Kind regards,
        A*

        • Pearl says:

          Thanks A*! I greatly appreciate that! Good luck with your studies & the IELTS.

          Cheers,
          Pearl

          • A* says:

            Thank you too, Pearl!

            I just encountered two other questions and I was hopping that you could give me/us your opinion on that.

            When we are supposed to disucss “both point of views”, without giving an opinion, how do I structure my conclusion?
            I read an example of it, which went like “While XY has many benefits, its disadvantages cannot be dismissed” – something like it.

            Personally, I feel like this answer is a bit to simple. As an alternative, I thought of beginning with “To conclude, it is felt that ..” , however, I guess this implies that I am giving my own opinion?

            My second question is, whethere there is a difference between “it is argued X has many benefits” and “it is argued THAT X has …” ?

            I will be thankful for any attempt for clarification.

            Regards,
            A*

          • Pearl says:

            Hi A*

            I think the example you saw would be OK. Your effort should go into your thesis statement in your introduction and the development in the main body paragraphs. The conclusion shouldn’t add anything new and should really just be one sentence. For example, here’s a Task 2 question: “The number of elderly people in the world is increasing. What do you think are the positive and negative effects of this trend?”

            This is a discussion question where you are discussing both positive and negative effects without adding any personal opinion. Here’s my conclusion: “In short, it’s important to consider both the positive and negative effects of the aging population to prepare ourselves for a changing society.” It reflected my thesis in my introduction that there are both positive and negative effects that will change society. I’ll try to write a post about this soon.,

            As for your second question, there is no difference. After “bridging verbs” that show speech or thought, such as say, claim, etc., “that” can sometimes be dropped. But personally, I probably would use “that”. If you’re not sure or don’t feel comfortable dropping “that”, it’s best to leave “that” in. Hope that helps. Good luck!

  2. A* says:

    Hi Pearl,

    I am extremely grateful for your response!
    I am having my IELTS Exam tomorrow, so I really appreciate that.

    Regards,
    A*

  3. Anup Pyakurel says:

    Hi Pearl,
    I want to know whether there is a more effective way to answer gap filling exercises in the IELTS reading section than looking for synonyms of question words in the passage.

    • Pearl says:

      Hi Anup,

      Have you read my post on IELTS Reading: Strategies for Summary Completion, which applies to any fill-in-the-gap type question. Besides looking for synonyms of the key words to scan for, consider the word form that would work in the gap/blank (noun/adjective/verb/adverb, etc) and use your skimming skills beforehand to get an idea of how the text is organized so you know where to search out your answer within the passage. For the most part, you do need to scan for key words in the question to help you find the answer.

      Hope that helps. Good luck!

      Pearl

  4. Martin says:

    thanks alot this will help me in my exam.

  5. Ajay says:

    can i write about agreeing and disagreeing in a essay or i should jst agree/disagree ???

    • Pearl says:

      Hi Ajay,

      Do you mean being in the middle where you explain both views? Sure, you can do that. It depends on the question and the ideas you come up with to support your opinion. Personally, I just find it easy to agree (think of 2 main reasons) or disagree (think of 2 main reasons) so that your view is very clear throughout. When you start to agree AND disagree, you need to be very clear from the introduction and the conclusion that you are neutral/balanced. I might have written an example somewhere on my blog…

      Hope that helps!
      Pearl

  6. raziv says:

    Hy perl, i am feeling very good,,,,to got this helpful statement…hope this helpful statements will improve my ielts writing…. sir, in agree or disagree types of question can i write both views or not….?? can i read…??, i partially agree with this given statement …and so on…………….

    • Pearl says:

      Hi Raziv and thanks for your comment. I think it’s probably easier to just agree or disagree so that your essay is clear throughout and straightforward. You also just have to think of 2 good reasons to support your side.

      Remember, the examiners aren’t judging your opinion, they are looking at how you present your ideas, how clearly you express them and how well you support them.

      If you really want to do a balanced answer, where you agree AND disagree, then you have to be very clear about how you balance it out. Dedicate one paragraph explaining why you agree and then another paragraph explaining why you disagree. You will have to be clear that you have a balanced view in the introduction and in the conclusion. It can be tricky and you have to be very clear in how you express yourself, so it can be a bit more difficult than just completely agreeing or completely disagreeing.

      Good luck with your studies!
      Pearl

  7. shirleyrader says:

    Hello, by accidentally i saw your blog and it is really interesting one. For the agree/disagree essay, I think it’s probably easiest to just completely agree or completely disagree because you just need to have 2 reasons to support why. Keep on updating new info!!!

  8. Navjot says:

    some say annual examination should be abolished in lieu of it there should be grade system, but some argue it is the best evaluation criteria.with which opinion do u agree or disagre ?

    • Pearl says:

      Hi Navjot,

      Is this a sample question or are you asking me this question? What is your exact question for me if it’s a sample task question? Not sure how to answer!

      Cheers,
      Pearl

  9. Cygnus says:

    Hi Peter,
    Are collocations compulsory to receive a high band score?
    Thanks

    • Pearl says:

      Hi,
      I would say yes, and that they have to be used correctly in the right context. It’s not so much the amount of collocations you use, but the quality of a collocation and how it relates well to the topic you are writing about. The proper use of collocations is a reflection of the level of vocabulary you are able to use.

      Cheers,
      Pearl (not Peter!! :-)

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